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SiFive Announces Latest RISC-V CPU, The P650

The RISC-V logo
(Image credit: RISC-V Foundation)

San Francisco-based fabless semiconductor provider SiFive today announced a new processor it describes as “the fastest licensable RISC-V processor IP core in the market”. The SiFive Performance P650.

SiFive's P650 diagram

(Image credit: SiFive)

The SiFive Performance P650 will feature up to 16 cores and build upon the current SiFive Performance P550 (opens in new tab) processor, maintaining an efficient core pipeline while expanding the processor instruction-issue width to deliver an impressive (predicted) 40% performance increase per clock cycle and an overall 50% performance gain compared to SiFive’s previous fastest processor thanks to additional architecture enhancements.

Though we don’t have exact clock speeds, or many other details, for the new chip right now, the previous-generation four-core P550 ran at 2.4GHz on a 7nm process. It outperformed (opens in new tab) an Arm Cortex-A75 chip by 31% in SPECint2006, according to figures from SiFive (opens in new tab). What we do know is that it’s a 64bit design with hypervisor and virtualization support, plus ‘advanced cryptographic features’. Its modular design is aimed toward use in clusters, and it’s expected to be used in data centers, cars, airplanes, and mobile networking contexts.

“With the new SiFive Performance P650 processor, SiFive’s engineering team has rapidly and successfully delivered a significant performance uplift for the SiFive processor family,” said Rohit Kumar, senior vice president of engineering at SiFive. “SiFive’s rapid execution and expertise is on display as we build world-class products and serve high-performance markets. At SiFive, we’re determined to push the envelope of performance and demonstrate RISC-V has no limits, and the SiFive Performance P650 is the next step in a far-reaching product development roadmap.” 

Preview versions of the chip are expected to be offered to lead customers in the first quarter of 2022, with general availability coming in the middle of the year.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.